Who would have ever guessed Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Big Blue would someday forge a strategic partnership to build a solution for millions of people? But sure enough, it just happened. Overnight, Apple just acquired a massive ally.
Equipped with its 15,000 analytics consultants, 4,000 analytics patents, 6,000 industry solution business partners, and 400 mathematicians, IBM (NYSE:IBM) has forged a partnership with Apple to "transform enterprise mobility." The implications for both companies are huge.
The intention in this new partnership is to take the strengths of both companies to offer an unparalleled mobile enterprise solution. The partnership is packed with substance. Consider some of these key initiatives to the new partnership.
Tapping into Apple's iPhone and iPad, IBM is developing "a new class of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed exclusively from the ground up, for iPhone and iPad." The partnership will also introduce iOS optimized IBM cloud solutions, an enterprise-specific AppleCare service, and a new system that makes it easier for IBM to activate, supply, and manage iOS devices for enterprise clients.
It's a win/win
For IBM, the biggest advantage in this partnership is in going all out on the solution that Fortune companies were already using for mobile needs. Of the Fortune 500, 98% are already using iOS in their business. Ninety two percent of the Global 500 use iOS devices. Building a better enterprise mobile solution customized for iOS devices, therefore, will give IBM a distinct advantage over its corporate analytic solutions competitors by tapping into Apple's unprecedented and growing mobile enterprise user base.
Apple gains two major advantages.
First and foremost, this gives Apple an advantage over Google's Android and other mobile operating systems as an enterprise solution for large companies. IBM is a leader in enterprise analytics, cloud, software, and services -- the best ally Apple could have in its efforts to building enterprise solutions. Together, the two companies will be able to offer a more complete solution than competing mobile operating systems.
Second, Apple has just tapped into key distribution for its iPhone and iPads, the tech giant's two largest segments. Perhaps the most important line in Apple's press release announcing the deal was this: "As part of the exclusive IBM MobileFirst for iOS agreement, IBM will also sell iPhones and iPads with the industry-specific solutions to business clients worldwide." IBM will be able to sell, activate, and supply iOS devices directly to clients. Given the scale of IBM's reach in the corporate world, this is among the largest iOS device distribution channel Apple has ever tapped into.
Best of all, the advantages gained for both companies have more than near-term implications. IBM will be able to better meet the needs of its business clients and deepen relationships with them by finally tapping into the mobile operating system the enterprise world has became so attached to: iOS. Apple will become more entrenched in the corporate environment where the switching costs related to jumping from one OS to another are high.